Full narrative of Alps killings is revealed
Leaked police report suggests gunman, who used a pre-war pistol and ran out of bullets, was unlikely to be a professional assassin
Sunday 28 October 2012
An official narrative of the Alps murders, published yesterday, suggests that the quadruple killer was probably a lone psychopath, rather than a professional assassin.
A blow-by-blow gendarmerie account of the 15 brutal minutes above Lake Annecy on 5 September – including many facts previously undisclosed – was leaked yesterday to the French newspaper Le Monde. The narrative, based on seven weeks of investigations, says that the gunman first opened fire on a group of three people standing in a forest lay-by: a local cyclist, Sylvain Mollier, 45; a British tourist, Saad al-Hilli, 50; and his daughter, Zainab, aged seven. The murderer also fired at Mr al-Hilli's wife, Iqbal, 47, and her mother, as they sat in the back of the family car.
Mr al-Hilli, already wounded, fled to his car, pulling his daughter by the hand. As he tried to turn the BMW around, he ran over and dragged the body of the wounded cyclist under his wheels. Still under fire from the gunman, Mr al-Hilli rammed the back of the car into the steep forest side and became jammed there.
The gunman, using an obsolete, pre-war Luger P06 automatic pistol, then approached the car and shot Mr and Mrs Al-Hilli and Suhaila al-Allaf, 74, twice each in the head. It is also believed that he may have returned to the cyclist's body to finish him off.
Seven-year-old Zainab al-Hilli, who has helped investigators more than previously revealed, owes her life to the fact that the killer ran out of bullets, the report says. The attacker beat her savagely over the head with the butt of his gun and left her for dead. Fragments of the gun, as well as 22 cartridge cases, were found at the murder scene.
Zainab, now recovering with relatives in Britain, has told investigators that she and her father were outside the car when the gunman opened fire. She said her father dragged her towards the car, but she was unable to get inside. The 7.65mm gun used by the killer was issued to the Swiss army in the 1920s and 1930s. It is mostly regarded as a collector's piece and is not the kind of weapon used by professional killers, the report said.
The sequence of events established by the report suggests that the French cyclist, Mr Mollier, was the first victim to be seriously injured but was not necessarily the first target. Study of spent cartridges and bullet wounds by forensic experts suggests that the gunman fired a first volley of shots toward the cyclist, Mr al-Hilli and his daughter, and the parked car.
Investigations of a possible motive for a targeted killing of Mr al-Hilli – including a family quarrel over money and his work on micro-satellites – have revealed nothing special, Le Monde said. The Annecy area prosecutor, Eric Maillaud, told Le Monde: "The hypothesis of a lone and psychologically disturbed killer, is gaining ground."
Last night, it was claimed that Saddam Hussain had paid £840,000 into a Swiss Bank account set up in the name of Mr al-Hilli's father. No date is given for the alleged transaction. Investigators have previously said that this bank account contained an amount of less than €1m (£803,000).
- 1 BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate
- 2 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
- 3 18th century sex toy found in 'toilet of sword fighting school' in Poland
- 4 'I wish my teacher knew...': Young students share their 'heartbreaking' worries in notes
General Election 2015: David Cameron catching up in polls – but he badly needs a clear lead
The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey 25 years on
South Africa xenophobic attacks: Shops looted and violence on streets of Johannesburg as foreigners are forced to hide in police stations
Earthworms rain down from skies over Norway, puzzling scientists
18th century sex toy found in 'toilet of sword fighting school' in Poland
The only black face in the Ukip manifesto is on the page about overseas aid
Ukip is the only main political party to not address LGBT rights in its manifesto
If I’m being racially abused I don’t need a white stranger with a saviour complex to rescue me
BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate
Religion isn't growing, it is becoming vigorous in its demise, says philosopher AC Grayling
Russian warships in English Channel 'to conduct anti-aircraft and anti-submarine military drills'
£30000 - £40000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Front-End UI Application ...
£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...
£27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Domestic Service Only Engineers are requ...
£23600 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Employability Service withi...